VICTOR PINEDA NAMED TO U.S. U-20 TRAINING CAMP ROSTER AHEAD OF SOUTH AMERICAN FRIENDLIES
The Chicago Fire’s first Homegrown player Victor Pineda has been named to U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos’ 20-player roster for a five-day training camp in Houston, Texas. The training camp runs from May 30 to June 3 at the Houston Amateur Sports Park, the training home of the Houston Dynamo. Following the camp, the U-20 MNT will travel to South America for two matches against Uruguay on June 6 and June 8 before taking on Chile in Santiago on June 12.
The most recent U-20 camp was held in April and ended with a 1-0 victory over the University of Washington on April 15. Pineda notched the only goal of the match in the 89th minute.
CHICAGO FIRE JUNIORS LAUNCH ‘FEMALE INITIATIVE’ PLAYER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
With more than 1,600 girls participating in Fire Juniors programs across the United States, the club recognized a need to provide a pathway for success for the female players that make up 35 percent of all Fire Juniors participants.
“The Fire Juniors club mission is to ‘lead the evolution of youth soccer in the United States,’” said Fire Juniors Affiliate Manager Brian Roberts. “There is currently a full developmental pathway for boys that potentially leads from the grassroots level to the first team. To truly be a leader in the sport of soccer, we saw the need to provide long-term support for our female players. The current pinnacle in women’s soccer is the collegiate game, and we want to provide all Fire Juniors players, boys and girls, with every opportunity to succeed.”
In June 2012, the Chicago Fire will launch the first female Elite Player ID Program at Lake Forest Academy to identify the top talent in the Juniors programs. Coaching staffs from each of the nine Fire Juniors clubs will elect the top three player in every age group U-13 to U-17 to participate in the camp, which will include a series of practice sessions led by members of the Fire first team coaching staff and U.S. Soccer staff. Off the field, players will attend college placement, mental preparation and hydration/nutrition workshops. The top 20-24 players in each age group will be chosen to participate in a number of signature tournaments and showcases throughout the country.
“Results from a random survey revealed that all of our Fire Juniors players, boys and girls, participate in soccer for the same reasons,” said Roberts. “Everything that we do from a Juniors perspective -- the curriculum, skills benchmark and the way we educate coaches -- has to be to develop both boys and girls. The fundamental difference between boys and girls is the lack of regional and national provisions for girls. U.S. Soccer doesn’t have a U-16 or U-18 girls league and there is no stable professional women’s league. So what we are aiming to do is to lead the evolution by improving provisions and establishing long-term player development pathways for female players.”
CHICAGO FIRE ACADEMY TEAMS TAKE WEEKEND OFF
The Chicago Fire U-18 and U-16 Academy teams return to U.S. Soccer Developmental Academy action after a weekend off when they travel to Germantown, Wisc. to take on FC Milwaukee on Saturday, June 2. The next day both squads will challenge local rivals Sockers FC at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Ill.